Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard, Kebbeh, took issues with the National Sports Council saying that they asked him to act outside the constitution of the GFF to offload his executive without due recourse to the constitution. “Any decision to remove an elected official,” Kebbeh went on, “must be tabled at an extra-ordinary assembly of two-thirds of delegates. The NSC gave us only 24 hours to implement such an important thing that required us to consult the owners of football from all corners of the country,” he said.
He further said the NSC ignored their proposal for a stay of all actions pending the outcome of the independent investigation they (GFF) proposed. ”Everyone with a conscience knows that the hurried nature of the NSC investigations plus its composition, would not bring an outcome that can be seen to be conclusive in this matter,” Kebbeh said.
He added that the circumstances that led to the entire saga needed to be properly and independently investigated before such an action is taken by the NSC. “It is clear that of the errors committed where not the direct handy work of the current GFF executive especially the suspension of the national team,” he said. Asked whether he did not have powers under the GFF constitution to sanction his own officials where the need arise, Kebbeh said executive officials can only be removed when a misconduct is properly investigated and found to be punishable and even there it should be subjected to the stakeholders in the federation. “They are asking me to sack the technical director and without that position and a general secretary, Fifa assistance would not be forthcoming,” he concluded.
Earlier yesterday, Sports minister Alieu Jammeh announced that the GFF executive committee was suspended with immediate effect.
Among those affected by the move were President Kebbeh and his three vice presidents, Buba Janneh, Kebba Touray and Basiru Bajo.
The announcement came after the expiry of a 24 hour ultimatum asking the GFF to do away with the two vice presidents and some staff following the debacle of the disqualification of The Gambia from all Caf categories.
Justifying this move in front a packed press gallery at the Independence Stadium yesterday, Minister Jammeh quoted Part 18. 1.A of the National Sports Council Act of 2000 which reads: “Where the Council considered that any registered national association has conducted itself in a manner which is contrary to national interest, the council may, after offering the national sports association concerned an opportunity of making representation at the matter, suspend, ban or expel all or any of its officials from holding office in any association registered under this act.”
He continued to state that the same part provided that “Where the Council has taken any action referred to in the sub-section, the Minister of Youth and Sports on the recommendation of the Council shall appoint a committee to administer the affairs of the association concerned”.
“So in this case and strictly by NSC Act 2000, the Sports Council has decided to suspend these officials, but all other sections of the GFF remain intact as this is not a normalization but a rectification committee,” he said.
The minister further explained that the suspension of the officials also found basis in the GFF constitution itself which empowers the president of the federation under the article dealing with suspensions, dismissals to exercise his powers. “We had expected the GFF president to use his powers under the GFF constitution to protect the image of The Gambia, to safeguard the provision of their own constitution but again there too, we found them wanting. The ultimatum gave them enough time to implement the measures therein so the NSC had no choice but to take this move,” he said.
The minister then went to name a five-man committee who are tasked to manage the affairs of the GFF for a period of three months.
The committee comprise of the following, Lamin Sanneh, a career and seasoned sports administrator who is also permanent secretary number 2 at the Ministry of Local Government, Famara Colley, a seasoned sports administrator and educationist, Ba S Jabbie, president of the Brufut Youth and Zonal Sports Committee, Haddy Sillah-Njie and Malick Mbye.
According to the minister, the new committee would continue the organisation of all leagues, and among other things work on organising an extraordinary congress if necessary. He clarified however that if after all the consultations and investigations, locally and internationally, it is found out that the suspension warrant to be lifted, then there would be no need for an extraordinary congress.
“Then the men could go back to their offices. But if it became clear that the crime or whatever is serious then the necessary actions would be taken at that time,” he said, adding that new committee would operate from Football House. We expected them to hand over to the new committee,” he said.
Minster Jammeh further said the current story of Gambian football has damaged the country’s image, reputation and achievement in the game.
“The Gambia is not known for this and we as the responsible body must take our responsibilities to restore the image of the country,” he said.
“I have even heard voices saying they are going to hang up their boots [regarding football]. This move is to uplift those spirits that have suffered as a result of this problem,” the minster said.
Meanwhile, some male and female clubs supporting the GFF continued their meetings at Football House yesterday after which they held a media briefing denouncing the move taken the MOYS.
In a related development, the Gambia football organising committee yesterday announced that all fixtures in the current GFF leagues have been called off until further notice.
By Lamin Cham]]>